Almost two years ago I spoke at the Virginia Association of Activities Professionals Conference in Danville, VA. I had never heard of this group but they are a lively bunch!! They primarily provide all types of activities in a variety of settings, such as nursing homes, memory care facilities, and adult day programs. I met Glennette Poland during that conference and we became fast friends! Last evening I had the opportunity to be with Glennette in her work environment at Generations Crossings, an incredible place where they care for kids and adults together. I had arrived around 3:30 pm to get a tour of Generations Crossing, but the first thing I experienced was observing my friend doing the work she was born to do, conducting a poetry reading activity with the adults. Though she was expecting me at the center, Glennette was so surprised when I arrived in her session! It was a fabulous activity and I watched Glennette involve everyone in the room, regardless of their abilities. The room included Bill, one of the adults with Parkinson’s Disease, who read several poems he had written that were simply beautiful! Then he asked Glenette to read a poem he had written about his Mom’s dementia, and many of us in the room were near tears! I was lucky enough to get a copy of Bill’s poem and as I thanked him, I felt so grateful to have witnessed the activity! Bill seemed so proud to be the center of attention of the activity. I was proud for him and of him because he is an excellent writer.
After the activity with the adults, Glennette started our tour!! I got to see the infants, toddlers, Pre-K and after-school kids right down the hall from the adults!! Part of the toddler’s interactions with the adults involves doing activities with them AND high-fiving each of them!! Lots of the kids gave me a high-five too!!
There’s no way not to be impacted by a place like Generations Crossing because to me it proves you’re never too young or too old to have a meaningful relationship with each other!! According to their brochure, part of their mission is “children keeping the minds and hearts of the older adults young and adults sharing the time, attention and hugs all children need to thrive”.
After the amazing tour I had dinner with Glennette and some of the other dedicated and loving staff. We laughed and shared and it was clear that I fit right in with this group! Then it was off to Sunnyside Retirement Community across the street for my presentation. It’s a beautiful facility and they agreed to host the event for 70 people! We laughed, we cried, we danced and I gave them inspirational coloring pages and crayons to take home.
The book signing afterwards gave me the opportunity to give and get hugs, take photos with those who wanted them and to hear their stories of the loved ones they are caring for. I had met some of their loved ones at Generations Crossing during the poetry reading. Care was being provided for the adults over at Generations Crossing so their loved ones could attend the event. One woman brought her husband Pete to the event and he told me afterwards he was glad I signed my book for them so he could always remember my name!! Does it get any better than that??
I know some people may think I’m crazy for driving a little more than 2 hours after working most of the day, giving a presentation, signing books and then driving home to MD….but it’s not crazy at all, it’s energizing in a way I can’t really explain! It’s one of those things you have to experience in order to feel the energy!
Thank you Glennette for allowing me to experience what you and all the other amazing staff members at Generations Crossing do on a daily basis to make such a difference in the lives of children and adults together. I had seen that type of love the few times my Mom and Granddaughter Kendal shared as they played together, but seeing it operate on a large scale with loving staff has changed me for the better! There is a lot of bad in this world, but yesterday I got to experience a ton of the good!! Amen to that!